Food Romance

Most people like food, some people love food, I however am passionate about food. Not so much eating it, but preparing it and sharing it with others. I love the way food flavors and colors marry together into an exciting eating experience. I love to cook as if I am on a journey, delving into the untried and unknown only to find a new dish, both pleasing to the eye as well as the pallet. I have always been lucky with food, always seemed to find the right combination of ingredients, and never liked using a recipe. Repeats of dishes often differ slightly in taste and texture than they did the last time they were prepared, giving the palate a familiar flavor, but a new experience, a new romance....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Shrimp, Scallops and Ravioli’s

My wife, Tracey, is not fond of seafood.  She will eat the occasional fish and chips, but shellfish, not happening.  When it is just me and the boys we break out some seafood and go to work.

I started this dish by cooking down some sundried tomato, garlic, salt, pepper and butter.  I set this aside for later use.


I pan seared my sea scallops in butter, adding some nice sized shrimp at the turn.

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Spinach and Cheese ravioli was quickly boiled and standing by.


Scallops and shrimp are put on the plate, awaiting the ravioli.


Ravioli is tossed in a hot pan with butter and the sundried tomato that was set aside.


Serve the ravioli with the shrimp and Scallops!

Simple, tasty and impressive to your guests.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Pork with Apples and Cream Corn


can_creamed_cornFirst let me say, This is NOT cream corn!

                                                         THIS IS!        2010-10-29_17-59-07_189

With that said, start with 20 oz of frozen corn, add 8 oz of whipping cream, 1 cup of milk, 6 tsp of sugar and some pepper to your liking.  ( I use the white pepper, it looks nicer)

Combine these and bring to an easy boil.  (when you add the cream to the frozen corn it will turn to a block of ice, don’t worry, it will break up.)

Melt 3 Tbsp butter and mix in 3 Tbsp of flour, this will make a thick paste.  Add to the corn and reduce the heat.  Your corn should thicken up nicely now.  Keep on low heat until you are ready to serve.                  


Here are the pork steaks.  I like to spray them down with PAM or olive oil and season with Sweet Mesquite seasoning.  People ask about this seasoning often so I will give up the secret.  Here it is, and you find it at Costco.

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Grill the meat to your liking.

Here I have prepared an apple topping for the pork.  Sliced apples, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, like you would do for a pie filling.  I cooked it until the apples were soft and served them over the meat.


I mashed potatos and added sour cream, bacon bits, and a heaping pile of minced garlic.  I spread it out in a casserole dish and covered with grated cheese.  Bake this in the oven until cheese is melted.     2010-10-29_18-11-34_912

I finished the dinner off with a blueberry pie, not giving out the recipe, but had to mention it for the complete effect.      


Here is the complete dinner, I hope you choose to give it a try sometime.


            2010-10-29_18-14-01_641            2010-10-29_18-14-14_281

Monday, October 18, 2010

Swedish Meatballs

When somebody tells you they are hungry for meatballs, does your mind go straight to  pasta with a marinara sauce?  Mine doesn’t, instead I think rice topped with a nice Swedish meatball in sauce.  So when I heard the word meatballs, off to the kitchen I went.

I started by mixing my ground beef in a bowl with a diced onion, some minced garlic, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.2010-10-11_17-02-00_302  2010-10-11_17-02-53_844On the side I soaked 3 slices of white bread in milk.  I drained off all the milk and squeezed it out with my hands.  Mash up the bread until it is the consistency of paste,then add to the meat and mix it through.  I make the balls a bit bigger than a golf ball.


Fry the balls up in a large pan with about a half cube of butter.  After you have browned the balls on all sides, remove and set aside.

Depending on the grease left in the pan, you may have to add some more butter.  Add some flour and make a paste.  You should still have some tasty little bits from the meatballs hanging around in the pan. 

2010-10-11_17-24-08_1002010-10-11_17-24-36_785Keep heat on it, but watch for the burn.  Add some beef broth, milk and some salt and pepper.  Bring this to a light boil then reduce.  You should have a nice gravy working now.  Add browning sauce if you want, I prefer a light color with this dish. 

2010-10-11_17-30-29_525Drop the meatballs into the gravy and let simmer on low for about an hour, this will bring some nice flavors together.

I have cooked a plain white rice.  Tracey tries to get me to eat the wild brown rice, but this is so much tastier.  NEVER use minute rice, it’s for lazy people.  I mean, you went through all this and then use minute rice, well you get the point.

2010-10-11_18-17-56_197Serve three or four balls on the rice and cover with some gravy.  I guarantee you are going to love this dish, if you don’t, not my fault, you must have done it wrong. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Carnitas Americana

Who doesn't like Mexican food, I mean really, come on? But don't you get tired of making those same Mexican dishes all the time? I like to mix it up a bit, if you haven't already figured that out. Here I are my Carnitas. I put these together the other day with what I had laying around the house, I had no desire to go to the store. I started with three nice pieces of pork shoulder blade. I diced them up into pieces a bit larger than a sugar cube. I pan seared these tasty little buggers in some canola oil until done, then I drained off all the grease. I mixed up your standard dry seasonings used in for taco meat, chili powder etc; and mixed it in with about 2 cups of water, just enough to cover the meat in the pan. I added some finely diced green chili peppers and tomatoes as well. Most importantly, don't forget to toss a few shots of Tapatio hot sauce, enough to your liking. I let that bubble until it cooked down into a thicker sauce, almost as thick as glue, a bit thinner. Be careful here, it can start to burn on you pretty easily when the sauce begins to thicken.

In another pan I cooked 2 cups of white rice, only adding about 3 cups of water when it calls for four. I added half a can of corn (drained off) and some diced green chili peppers and tomatoes. as with the meat, add a few dashes of the Tapatio. Cover and let cook.

I pan fried some smaller sized flour tortillas in some oil and placed them in a taco rack. I like the rack for making up the tacos and serving them to my kids, makes it so much easier to make them up quick and easy with only two hands. I put the grated cheese on the bottom, add a spoonful of the meat and a nice thick slice of avocado. Drizzle these beauties with some Ranch salad dressing and serve with a spoonful of rice.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ah Oktoberfest, now what to make? I needed to prepare a main dish to take to the annual neighborhood event, and in true "what to make" fashion, I let the grocery store decide. Pork is on sale and is a very traditional German meat. Many German recipes feature apples with pork,and when I saw some beautiful apples on display, I had made up my mind. A pork roladin, filled with bacon, sauted onions and apples. These flavors blended together very well and I was just as pleased as when I make traditional beef roladin.

I started out with some diced apple smoked bacon seared with a sweet Walla Walla onion.

Apples were diced about the size of a sugar cube and added after the bacon was done and the onions had softened up a bit. I let this cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, then strained off the bacon grease.

The pork shoulder was pounded out nice and thin. I trimmed it up a bit and saved the extra pieces for later.

Add a nice large spoonful of the stuffing to the pork and roll it up, add salt an pepper to the tops of them. Put a few tooth pics through to hold it in place.

Melt a cube of butter in a large pan, then sear these rolls of meat, both sides. When browned, remove them and set them aside.

Add another cube of butter to the frying pan. Once melted, add about a 1/4 cup of flour and mix it into a paste. Add beef broth, milk and about a 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. Bring up the heat and stir until it thickens a bit. Add more flour to thicken it up a bit if you need to.

Once the gravy is the texture you are looking for, remove the tooth pics from the pork and add them to the mix. Cover over medium heat and let simmer for about 30 minutes.

In another pan I seared up the trimmings of pork after cutting them into little bits. Once cooked, I added the left over stuffing mix. Set this aside, we will use it to top the dish before serving.

After the 30 minutes of simmering time I removed the pork rolls to a serving tray and covered with the gravy. Top with the pork trimmings and stuffing and serve.

When I cut into this the first time I was very pleased with the texture and color of the apples and bacon. The vinegar added just a bit of that nice German flavor I was looking for. Serve this up with some noodles and saurkraut. Enjoy!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sometimes the simple things in life are the best, take a hamburger for instance. They all have meat, usually some cheese and maybe a tomato. But ultimately they are the same, until somebody feels edgy and decides to take it over the top. My wife has always told me I cross the line a lot, I think she is talking about my sense of humor, but with cooking this absolutely holds true. Here are a few examples of burgers at my house. Here is a crowd pleaser every time I make it. It is best when you have a group of guys over for some football or general hanging out. The "bun" here is a loaf of garlic bread baked until crisp and golden brown. I add ketchup, tomato and avocado on the bottom, then bring on the meat! Here you will find 1 1/2 lbs of fresh ground beef topped with cheddar cheese, a nice deli pastrami and apple smoked bacon. I top this bad boy off with the standard mustard mayo combination and serve it up. It slices nicely into for large sections and wont leave you hungry.

Hint: Much easier to make two patties that butt up to each other, rather than one big one (much easier to turn on the grill)

Or, if you want to move into the arena of the totally different you may want to try this, but I warn you, it is not a low calorie recipe and it is NOT cardiologist approved. Here is one of my all time favorite burgers. Start with a fresh glazed doughnut, yeah you heard me right, a glazed doughnut. This baby has mayo, tomato, ground beef with cheese, bacon and a fried egg. The sweet glazing with the salty bacon is an unbelievable combination, you will not be disappointed.